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Unemployment rate lowest since November – January 2009.

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The Labour Market Report was published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.

The key findings are:

  • The Labour Force Survey (LFS) measure of unemployment in Northern Ireland (NI) decreased over the quarter to May – July 2016. The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits in NI decreased in August 2016.
  • The LFS indicated that the NI unemployment rate (16+) decreased by 0.2 percentage points (pps) over the quarter and by 0.7 pps over the year, to 5.6%. This is the lowest unemployment rate since November – January 2009. The UK unemployment rate (4.9%) also fell over the quarter and the year to May – July 2016.
  • The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits (from NI Jobs and Benefits Offices) decreased by 800 over the month, to 35,100 in August 2016. This is the fifth consecutive decrease after two consecutive months where the claimant count had increased.
  • The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits has fallen by 29,600 since the most recent peak in February 2013. The number of people leaving the register in the last 12 month period has slowed, from 10,600 to August 2015 to 6,700 in the recent year to August 2016.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate) was down over the quarter and increased over the year to 69.4% which remained lower than the UK employment rate (74.5%).
  • The NI economic inactivity rate (26.4%) was 0.3 pps higher than in the previous quarter and 1.3 pps lower than in the previous year. The NI economic inactivity rate remained noticeably higher than in the UK (21.5%).
  • Businesses reported (in the Quarterly Employment Survey) that the number of employee jobs increased over the quarter to June 2016 (+860) and over the year (+8,770) to 733,490.

The NI claimant count measure of unemployment is based on people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) from Jobs and Benefits Office Administrative Systems. From 17 June 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) replaced the claimant count based on JSA for Great Britain (GB) with an experimental claimant count based on JSA claimants and a measure of out-of-work claimants of Universal Credit (UC). Although UC has not been introduced in NI, the NI and UK series remain broadly comparable.

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